* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4799 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Hey, Spotify! Why do you internet companies hate competition?

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Re: Oh look...

Tom 38,

That's interesting. They don't do the same with their books and films services. I wonder if music will remain different, or if they'll try and become more of a platform-independent content company?

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Re: Oh look...

Apple won't have a monopoly. They don't have a monopoly of devices. I presume they won't be issuing an Android app for example. This is why they avoid government action on monopoly, even though they run a walled garden. At the time of their run-ins, Microsoft were on 95% of PCs. Apple have 20% of the global smartphone market (30%-odd in the US I think) - and less of the PC market.

The article also suggests there's a risk of collusion between Youtube and Spotifiy. Something I'm not knowledgeable enough to comment on - and also the risk of Google buying Spotify.

Finally the whole industry do seem to have quite a distressing habit of offering stuff for free to grow their service or to get advertising reveunue. And of course, what they're giving away for free is the artists' work. So I've got quite a lot of sympathy with artists who mostly aren't rich, when the technology industry keeps trying to find ways to make money out of what they produce, and then gets all sniffy and whiny when they complain and try to get compensated for their creative efforts.

It's good that musicians can make money by playing live, and I like live music. But I also like recorded music, and I like to hear from new artists. And that means that whatever market we evntually come up with needs to be funnelling money to those artists, so they've got the time to actually write and play their songs.

We have the same problem with news content. There's an awful lot of people who want to get the advertising revenue from hosting it. There's an awful lot of people who want to read it for free. But if we can't find a way to funnel sufficient cash to the right people, then we won't have professionals going out and collecting, collating, editing, fact-checking and producing our news content. And society will be the poorer for it.

Money ain't everything for sure. But sometimes the only way to get good quality stuff is to pay people to do it properly. Copyright is a way that society chose to organise itself to try and achieve this. You've got to feed the goose in order for it to lay golden eggs.

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iPod dead? Nope, says Apple: New Touch has iPhone 6 brains

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Interesting to have the downvotes, but no counter-argument. I could also have mentioned the Motorola G, which is only £150. And comes with I believe 16 or 32 GB.

My old hard disk iPod is on its last legs. After many years excellent service. The battery and storage on my iPhone 5 wasn't sufficient to replace it. Apple stopped the 80GB iPod, and the Touch doesn't have enough storage. I've got over 30GB of music now - and more than that in podcasts. That is laziness, in that I could keep unloading and loading podcasts on to keep the storage use down, but I can't be arsed. I want to have all my unlistened ones on the device, so it only needs synching with the computer when it's charged each weekend.

The conclusion I came to was to get a cheap phone with memory card slot as a replacement. But the battery on mine seems to be up to it, and memory cards are cheap. Just got to try Microsoft's software now. At least they've killed the frankly awful Zune - which made iTunes look like a work of elegant genius.

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It's also a lot cheaper than a phone - 16gb iPhone 6 is £539, 16gb iPod Touch is £159.

Interestingly that's what work just paid to replace my iPhone 5 with a Microsoft Lumia 735. It's only got 8GB of storage, but since it has a memory card slot, it can go up to 256GB for less than the price of the 64GB iPod Touch. While also doing the phone stuff - and probably having a longer battery life, comparing to the previous iPhone or my colleague's iPhone 6.

It's got a surprisingly decent camera - and does better as a phone - in that I get a signal and can make calls at home, which the iPhone could only manage by the windows.

The price of both of these and the iPads, show just how overpriced iPhones, and top of the range Androids, are nowadays.

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Crims and politicians using RTBF to scrub themselves from Google? Not quite

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Eventually society will catch up

At the moment everyone under the age of 25-30 has probably posted something compromising to Facebook, G+, Twitter or whatever. Either that or one of their friends has, and has left their privacy settings to "everyone in the entire world".

However most people in senior HR are older than that, and so don't have that experience of growing up with their mates online - and think it odd to see that sort of stuff. Presumably society will eventually catch up, and employers will be less surprised by this sort of stuff, or just everyone will have something compromising online so it won't matter.

Then, presumably at some point in the next 30 years, employers will become suspicious of your job application if they can't find a naked picture of you somewhere on the internet...

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Did MARS once have OCEANS? Curiosity discovers continental crust

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Happy

Perhaps?

Slartibartfast

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Epic Games, Epic Fail: Forumers' info blown into dust by hack

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Re: Sigh

What is it with all these websites demanding your date of birth, before you can register? I have had this from several restaurants, just to get money off vouchers from them.

They could at least just ask your age (for games / videos), after all they're only interested in if you're 12 or 18. And in the case of restaurants, what they actually want is your birthday, to send you a special birthday dinner voucher. Which is fair enough. I tend to stagger my birthdays, so I get nice dinner vouchers spread throughout the year from my local chains...

Obviously one can lie about addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth. But it would be better if websites considered security properly, and didn't bloody well ask!

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There should be one central silo of user data

I read those words, and my instinct is to shout, "Flee!"

And then run away, terribly fast.

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Neil Young yanks music from streaming services: 'Worst audio in history'

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Re: Of course...

In my experience, any music that you can even barely tolerate to hear on radio without running away (or sawing your own ears off), will sound good live. At least as long as it's played competently.

Although I can think of one exception to that rule. Having seen a pretty good Rolling Stones tribute act a couple of times. The second time I saw them was the day after I'd seen the actual Rolling Stones at Hyde Park - and suddenly they didn't seem so good anymore.

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Horrifying MOCK BACON ABOMINATION grown in BUBBLING VATS as ALGAE

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Mmmm. I'll have the same double-bacon sandwich. But I'll be extra healthy, by having a synth-bacon smoothie please. And if it tastes equally bacon-y uncooked, I'll also have a side of bacon salad. With baconaise obviously.

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Attention dunderheads: Taxpayers are NOT giving businesses £93bn

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Re: So can someone help me?

It's simple. If you're pirating music or films then you're funding terrorism.

However, if you're legally buying films and music, then you're funding cocaine and Bentleys for idle music execs.

If you're buying Apple, then you're being hypnotised by the reality distortion field and become a mindless consumer of cheap Chinese tat.

If you've read the article, and all the comments, then that's ten minutes of your life that you'll never get back.

My suggestion is to say "sod all this for a lark" and drink copious quantities of beer.

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Re: Interesting writeup

phil dude,

You're still wrong though. Even if you have done your research.

Who pays the tax is not the same as who suffers the tax. That's tax incidence.

I'll be paying out £20k to the VAT man in a few days. Sadly the company's cash, not mine. But neither I, nor the company, is actually paying that tax. Nor (at least to my knowledge) are any of the companies who we invoiced - and got paid that VAT money in the first place. We're somewhere deep a chain of business transactions, many invoices away from the poor customer - who actually gets to swallow that VAT bill. All of us bill it, all of us claim it from what we buy, and all of us pay the difference back to HMRC.

As another example it's widely considered in economics that companies do not bear the cost of Employers Contribution to National Insurance. They have to pay it of course. They also hand over the money for employees NI contribution and income tax - and deduct that straight out of the pay packet. But the assumption is that in two countries with identical personal taxation and economies, but one where no employers NI had ever existed, the same total amount of cash would get paid out in wages and payroll taxes, it's just that wages would be higher in the country without employers NI. That's the amount of money employers want to hand over to their staff, and that's what they'll pay, it's just the government is intercepting a bit more of it. Obviously when you change an already existing system, things won't change smoothly.

The same is considered to be true of business rates. Companies can afford a certain amount for their premises, and a working market will eventually bring them to roughly that. Because what markets do is to ration scarce resources. So if you're not willling to pay as much as other people, you won't get the shop you want. Or won't keep it for long. Therefore if the government is taking some of that cash companies have to spend on thie premises - that's coming from the landlord's share.

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Pluto revealed as KING of the Kuiper belt

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Questions Science Fails to Answer

What's going to happen in pub quizzes now? Or games of Trivial Pursuit? You'll need to look up the printing date to know how many planets there are in the solar system. And then resort to saying things like, "well it was 9 when I was at school."

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Hackers sell 79,267 Cloudminr accounts for ONE Bitcoin

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Re: Bitcoin - the currency of losers

How very dare you! I shall sue!

My online Bitcoin bank is perfectly safe and secure. Join Ruptcy Bank today! The bank that likes to say Yo!

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Chopstick-collapsing Spam musubi

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Re: Spam in Scotland

Ooh 'eck! School dinner memories. Crikey DM!

My school never served Spam, so far as I can remember. But I am now having horrible flashbacks to the ravioli. Huge catering sized tins of the stuff. It was in a sauce, that managed to be bright, radioactive orange, and watery at the same time. Heaven knows how they managed that feat. And inside the soggy, ersatz tomato coated pillows of pasta was this sort of greyish mush, with the consistency of belly-button fluff, that I presume was mince. Shudders!

The less said about the pink blancmange the better!

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'Ugly Reddit commentards made me doubt humanity'

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Re: @Antonymous Coward, re: Eadon.

I'm pleased to say that I just can't get my brain round trying to impersonate Eadon - and so I don't feel too dirty after having tried. However I did manage to get the all-important trademark ending in. So I shall end this post in similar tribute with:

I AIN'T SPARTACUS FAIL!!!!!

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Re: @Antonymous Coward, re: Eadon.

2+2=5,

An EADON post could NEVER contain praise of Microsoft! That would be totally unacceptable! Microsucks are the worst company that has ever spewed forth upon the face of the earth - and everything they did was wrong.

AND YOU ALSO MISSED THE ALL IMPORTANT ALL-CAPS SUMMARY OF THE POST AT THE END!

2+2=5 FAIL!!!

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EU squashes bogus copyright scare as red-faced Guardian slaps down Wiki's Wales

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Re: Confused...

It was an amendment to a European Parliament report. Which they then reversed.

The European Parliament does not have the power to initiate legislation. Only the Commission can do that. It's one of the oddities of the European system. The Commission and everyone else produce reports and that should all get fed into the legislating process. But the Commission then puts out all the bills. These then go to the Council of Ministers and the Parliament, who have lots of fun amending them, before they can be paseed.

It's all very complicated, and also some of it has changed since the Lisbon Constitution Treaty provisions came into force after the last Parliamentary elections and the new Commission took over.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Copyright extension sucks

This isn't about copyright extension. It's about people campaigning against copyright in general claiming that new rules are coming in to make copyright stricter, when that isn't actually the case.

And also pointing out that some of the people who campaign agains it (Google for a huge example), have a big interest in weakening copyright as that would be more money for them. So perhaps they shouldn't be given a free pass when claiming to be altruistic campaigners for right and justice.

I'm not sure about the Mickey Mouse thing. On the one hand, it's part of our culture now. So at some point it should be freely accessible to all. But on the other hand I don't really care, or see that it's doing massive harm to society to pay Disney its pound of flesh for Mickey related stuff. Again, in the case of song-writing copyrights, I want artists to get paid. If an artist dies young, I also don't see why their family shouldn't still get cash. But it seems to have gone too long. And music is much more culturalurally important than Mickey. Everyone sings songs, I'm not sure I care if some people are prevented from making Mickey Mouse mugs/toys/ears/whatever.

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7/7 memories: I was on a helpdesk that day and one of my users died

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Re: Abiding memory of 7/7

That reminds me of the Sioux City (Iowa) plane crash. Perfectly timed, in that they'd just practised their drill with the local hospitals and emergency services the week before.

Although obviously that was also down to some very experienced pilots doing the right thing and doing it well. Given that I believe in post-crash simulations no-one else managed to even reach the runway.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Ooops. Pressed the wrong button...

Obviously there was John Smeaton at Glasgow aiport.

But I remember someone from the PFLP claimed responsibility for September 11th. Almost immediately an obviously panicked leadership not only denied all knowledge but also condemned the attacks. I think I just found it grimly amusing to hear a bunch of terrorists getting scared. On the other hand, it was also a sign of how serious and effective the attacks were, that the world had obviously changed - and even a bunch of terrorist has-beens (I'm not sure they were all that effective even back in the 70s/80s) could see it immediately.

Generally though, I think black humour is a healthy sign.

It got a friend of mine a new nickname. He was in Sudan at the time. He's got a nice big beard, and his new nickname at football was Osama...

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I ain't Spartacus
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That reminds me of September 11th, when HQ (of my company at the time) was in Boston, and a bunch of people were on their way over to California that day. And in the confusion it was impossible to find out which flights had crashed and which our guys were on.

I also remember the internet totally failing me. Someone got a text from a friend about it, which I didn't believe and just assumed was a plane crash. But after the BBC, Guardian, Torygraph, Sky, NBC, New York Times and a few other websites I tried all failed to respond, I decided it must be true. Went up to the MD's office and stuck a piece of wire in the back of a TV used for presentations and managed to get a signal.

I was working from home for the London bombs - so could have Radio 5 on.

Weirdly I'd say New York had more impact for me. Despite living near London, with friends there, and knowing someone who was injured on one of the tube trains (it's had a huge effect on her of course). I guess because it was a different kind of attack, and had so much impact on global politics. Maybe also because I've always associated London and terrorism? So it was almost a normal thing. My Dad narrowly avoided serious injury in the IRA's Hyde Park bomb - and was nearby for another one as well.

I also remember a couple of moments of probably inappropriate humour

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NASA chooses ace SPACE PILOTS who'll take the USA back into manned flight

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Happy

Yeah, they had one of those in The Times the other day. I just need to collect 1,000,000,000 coupons from each day's paper, and at the end of it, they'll fly me to the Moon for £1.

Terms and conditions apply. No more than one application per household. You may not fly on weekends, bank holidays, peak travel times (such as Christmas, Summer, Winter, Autumn, Easter or Spring). See paper for more details.

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Greek PM Alexis Tsipras brings the EU to its knees

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Re: Can the Eurogroup count?

Charlie Clark,

Greece has made massive reforms. It's gone from developing world levels of transparency, openess and ease of business to Southern European levels, in the last 5 years. At least according to OECD charts.

That's not wonderful of course, but it's much more than the lying wankers of the Troika are willing to acknowledge with all their shit about "Greece having to do its homework", and Greece having done no reform.

Also notice that when they keep saying Greece hasn't brought proposals to Eurogroup meetings, at least three times, that's because the Commission technical teams have refused to pass their proposals on because they were trying to force the Greeks to only produce proposals that fitted within a very narrow scope. It was then extra convenient that they could then lie about having no proposals to discuss. Although there are also times when Greece has been late with stuff, which I susepct is because their civil service doesn't function properly at the best of times - and is helping Syriza even less than it would the established parties (given it's so full of their clients). The head of the Central Bank is a former New Democracy finance minister for example.

Greece's underlying problem is political anyway. It doesn't have a functioning civil service or a fucntioning political system - and because of that people will never trust in the system and pay tax. It also doesn't have all those civil society institutions like think tanks and independent analysts of government policy. There's no way the UK government could get away with cooking the books in the way the Greeks did in the boom years, it would get spotted. The information exists, for people to draw their own conclusions on UK debt sustainability.

The Troika have never touched the political area. Which is where Greece is crying out for reform. And of course they had the almighty carrot of debt relief to offer in exchange for particular reforms too. Another proof that they haven't been honest or beneficial actors.

On debt sustainability though you're both right, and totally wrong. Greece cannot safely exit the program until it's in a position to get market access again. Even if just for 3 month paper to tide it over between high tax months and low ones. Plus the next recession - if it ever gets out of this one. No one will lend to a country with debt-to-GDP ratios of 180%, even if that's actually manageable because the interest rates are low - and maturities long.

Secondly the Troika's own failures make the debt unsustainable. The ECB, by allowing deflation, means that even if Greece grew by 2% this year, it would still go backwards on debt-to-GDP levels. This is the same for Italy, but at least Italy finally gets QE. The Greeks don't. And should have - if their central bank were politically neutral. Making the ECB a creditor was a disastrous mistake. Then again, so was creating the Euro...

But it's the Troika that keep on insisting on insane levels of Greek government surpluses, that if implemented will push Greece further into depression. The more they squeeze them for debt repayments, the less money they'll get. The Germans, of all people, should know this lesson by heart.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Can the Eurogroup count?

For your information I include this piece from an EU thinktank. www.bruegel.org-linky

Now before you think that this is some wimpy old marxist Greek sympathiser, this is the guy who designed the Troika "bail-out" of Ireland, as he was head of the IMF's European department at the time.

So when he says that the IMF and Eurogroup have just spent the last few months negotiating in bad faith, and that the IMF should actually be forced to take losses on their Greek lending as a punishment (losing their super-seniority for the first time ever), you should listen.

Basically the trajectory of this crisis is as follows. Corrupt Greek policians ran their country horribly badly. Given they were buying votes with government jobs, and few people paid their taxes, the Greek voters can't just get away with blaming their politicians either. But they were allowed into the Euro anyway, because it was a political project. And those of us who pointed out the flaws at the time were ignored/laughed at.

I'd say that William Hague's description from the 90s was rather prescient. He said that in a crisis, the Eurozone was "like a burning building with no exits". As you can see from the Greek crisis, where they have the choice of totally fucking their economy by leaving, or slowly fucking it by staying in.

When the crisis hit it was then decided to bail out the crisis countries. But in the most retarded way possible. They would be loaded up with unsustainable levels of debt in order to save the Eurozone banking system. In reality it was the French and German banks that were most exposed to Ireland and Greece. Spain were later forced to bail out their own banks, but the Germans and the French preferred to get other people to bail theirs out. Although actually Germany spent more than the UK did in its own bank bail-out, and still their Landesbanken are in a horrible mess.

However various people wanted the IMF involved. Partly as a body to duck behind for political cover. But also because the Eurosystem didn't have much crisis expertise.

However, again, the IMF's rules only allow bail-outs of countries if they're sustainable. This is normally done by making the creditors take haircuts, in exchange for some IMF loans to tide the country over until they can borrow from the markets again and tough reforms. This is also accompanied by devaluation to give a burst of inflation (and avoid the risk of deflation) and a chance of export-led growth.

There was no creditor hair-cut whatsoever! There was no devaluation. The ECB refused to reflate these countries with QE, and even raised interest rates in 2010/11!!!!! Plus no QE. And even when they finally did QE this year, they specifically designed the program not to include Greece who have 2.8% deflation at the moment, and therefore need it most.

This breaks all the IMF rules, but they re-wrote them for saving the Eurozone. Which to be fair, was probably sensible - as collapsing the Eurozone in 2010 would have buggered the world economy. Although the IMF board minutes got leaked and there were lots of objections given how awful this would be for Greece. Even the Swiss delegate said the austerity would be too harsh...

The IMF predicted the Greek economy would shrink by 5%. It shrank by 11% that year. And the same the next year. Hence the 2012 second Greek bail-out. Because the first one had failed. All the governments refused to take any losses. So the few remaining private creditors of the Greek government took the brunt of the hit. This was basically the Greek pension and banking system. Which then needed bailing out, and is one of the reasons they're now saying the Greek pension system is unsustainable. Because they buggered it up in the last bail-out.

BTW this is also what buggered up the Cypriot economy. And led to their bail-out. They were promised help, as many of their (actually well run) banks had lots of Greek government debt, as there wasn't enough Cypriot debt for them to hold as reserves. That help was never given, and they were given a deliberately crap bail-out to punish them for having too much Russian money on deposit. Interestingly the Greek and Cypriot banks were cautious, with lots of savings on deposit and reasonably high interest rates. Unlike the French, Italian, German or our banks - who had to be rescued due to their own incompetence...

In 2013 the IMF admitted that they'd screwed up on their calculations on Greece. The Greek economy had now shrunk by 26%, government spending had been cut by 25%, unemployment was 27% and youth unemployment was 50%. This is 1930s territory.

They also calculated that the Greek fiscal multiplier was more than 1. That means that for every euro of spending cuts or tax rises, the Greek economy would shrink by more than one euro! That means that the only way for Greece to pay off its debts is to stop cutting government spending (or raising taxes) until after the economy has started growing again. With debt to GDP of 180%, Greece would need to be running huge government surpluses until the mid 2020s, and their economy to be growing to get this paid down. The IMF tried to pretend that this was possible up until June this year, after the fucking negotiations had broken down, then admitted that Greeece needed €50 billion of debt relief. When it was too late.

The IMF has been run by two French politicians with ambitions for later advancement in French politics, and both of them have ignored guidance from the technical (i.e. economically literate) department. I'm sure this is just a co-incidence though...

Syriza have negotiated badly, and are inexperienced. On the other hand, the required debt relief has been refused discussion by the Eurogroup until after the referendum finally forced them to. Hence the original article I quoted, about negotiating in bad faith.

The economic argument is unarguable. Greece needed debt relief in 2010, or it would never be able to pay back its debts. Surprisingly enough it's still failing to cover them. It's made the biggest cuts of any economy in modern peacetime history. It's had the deepest depression of any economy in modern peacetime history. The programme offered it by the Troika in recent negotiations is designed in such a way that it can't do anything but fail. So leaving the Euro is Greece's only option, as the Troika program would have put Greece back into recession by now even if Syriza had accepted it in January this year.

This will go down as the biggest economic fuck up in modern history. Because everyone involved knew the Troika programs would fail, but did it anyway.

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PLUTO: The FINAL FRONTIER – best image yet of remote, icy dwarf planet REVEALED

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Windows

Re: For anyone who's tried to "shoot the Moon"...

I tried to shoot the moon. But I missed.

Now I just howl at it...

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Re: Just for a laugh...

Ah, but the Saturn V was just a decoy. Admittedly quite a big decoy... But the real mission was flown by the Airforce from Edwards on the X51.

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FLYING PIG crash-lands in Utah: Rider survives, bacon saved

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Re: Quick thinking that man!

Although he did end up sandwiched between 2 piles of bricks. Butty spoke of his survival with relish - and I'm sure the journalists didn't grill him too hard.

...I should probably stop now...

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Quick thinking that man!

What, for coming up with turning the burners to full? Anyone could have done that.

No. For getting "what saved my bacon" into his press interview, of course.

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Devil

Re: New form of lift

Make a balloon shaped like a politician

When a 100' tall grinning Tony Blair goes floating past my window, I am going to hunt you down and take revenge for coming up with that idea!

Actually he probably wouldn't do it. Much more likely is the Boris Balloon.

You're going to burn in hell...

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Router cockup grounds United Airlines flights WORLDWIDE

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Happy

Can't they just do it like Das Boot? When you want to take off you make all the fattest passengers run to the back of the aircraft, then when you get to crusing altitude you make them lie in a big heap in the aisle over the wings.

Obviously it's bad for passenger morale when the pilot comes on the PA and screams, "ALLLLAAAARRRRMMMMMM!!!!!!!!". But it's a small price to pay for getting off on time...

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Re: Sensational

The Chinese stock market is down to China not having read their history of the Wall Street Crash in 1929. Apparently 90% of their stocks are owned by individual investors - and loads of them have borrowed money to buy the stocks, which is why the Shanghai index has doubled in price over the last 18 months. So of course when the price drops, you have to sell before the value of the shares you own goes below the value of the debt you took out to pay for them. When half the other people on the market are in the same boat, things go wrong very quickly.

Margin trading is scary. Don't do it kids!

One big difference is that China's government can do whatever the hell they like. So they've suspended trading in half the market, they can make the banks write-off the loans, or just abolish the stock market.

The Chinese banking sector is in some ways quite well regulated. They have reasonably high interest rates and very high capital requirements. A lot of their bad loans are also to local government, so the national government will probably have to bail them out. On the other hand the shadow banking industry is huge, and barely regulated. Possibly they were too cautious with the banks, so people went elsewhere? And that mess will be painful to clean up.

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Berlin pours bucket of flat beer on Patriot missile hack report

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Re: Seriously?

Although there possibly was a Syrian missile battery (or several) that did odd things. When Israel bombed Syria's nuclear site a few years ago it was rumoured that they first did something horrible to their air defence network. Possibly involving shutting down their radars. Details were pretty scarce at the time, I don't know if much has come out since.

That of course could have been hacking, an inside job, special forces breaking things or any number of other shennanigans.

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Norks execute underperforming terrapin farm manager

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Happy

He went to school in Switzerland, so he's got some outside experience. Actually perhaps that's where he learnt his management techniques? Do Toblerone employ death squads? Enquiring minds would like to know...

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Pluto probe brain OVERLOAD: Titsup New Horizons explained

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Re: Deadline detector.

I thought that feature was only normally enabled on printer CPUs. Did NASA get HP to write their drivers?

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'The server broke and so did my back on the flight to fix it'

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Re: I feel your pain (quite literally)

Ah, back pain memories... Or should I say, Aaaaarrgghhh!!!!? It's astonishing how painful they can be. Rib injury that led to the whole upper back and neck going into spasm for me. Morphine took a couple of days to touch the pain, and I have no memories at all about the rest of that week.

One thing it's taught me is never to try to soldier on. Loosening excercises every half hour and maybe NSAIDs or muscle relaxants. If you're in too much pain to do stretches, then it's time for the doctor.

I've learnt to dread that slow progressive stiffening and tightening, with increasing levels of pain, as the muscles start to spasm. And it's a right old bugger to stop major back spasms when they're taken hold. Plus hurting like someone digging knives into your brain. But I've found it mostly can be controlled early on in the process.

Now if I'd got my domestic robot and jet pack, like Tomorrow's World promised, there'd be a lot less strain on my back. Can I sue the BBC?

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Reg hack survives world's longest commercial flight

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Re: Polar Routes

Photos or I don't believe you.

I guess he didn't bring his polaroid.

Of course you can't see it, if he's got polaroids. That means he's sat on it - which is what caused them in the first place.

It brings tears to your eyes. And I thought frostbite was bad...

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Linux Mint 17.2: If only all penguinista desktops were done this way

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Devil

Re: @James Loughner Lack of upgrades is a killer for me

Linux is basically like a box of sweets: some of us like to try all of them, even the strawberry cremes.

Pervert!

I bet you eat those filthy coffee ones as well. You disgust me!

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UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends' friends

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Re: Nothing new here

As stated, it's in WinPho 8.1 already. I believe it's defaulted to on when you get the phone, but it's one of the setup questions you have to answer, so you can turn off the switch. I'd imagine that's what they'll do in the production version of Windows 10 as well.

It's more of a security risk than Apple holding your WiFi passwords when you cloud back-up your iThings. Does Android do cloud backup now (I'm out of date)?

To be honest, if you're going to go to the trouble of parking in the corporate car park, can't you just sniff some packets and break the WiFi security anyway? I thought that only took a few minutes nowadays?

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Teaching people to speak English? You just need Chatroulette without the dick pics

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Devil

Use the Force

This app will require the phone to be plugged in. And you'll have to use our special handsets, a modified 'Droid of some sort probably.

Then it will show you a picture. Or a video of someothing happening. You get text underneath, which you have to say out loud. If the speech recognition doesn't like it, then you get nice little electric shock through the phone casing.

Make more mistakes, the voltage goes up.

All stick and no carrot you say? Hmmm. You could be right there. How's about then that if you're good, and get all your lessons right, then you get access to other people failing, via the webcam - then you can press the button to shock some other poor hapless learner.

In fact, this can save us the hassle of having to write / pay for a speech recognition engine.

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Happy

Re: Ladybird or maybe ChatRoulette WITH the, er....

How about the CompuTeach from Hitch Hikers' Guide? "Now you may press the button" Then you just need to invent some sort of orgasmatron that can be built into a mobile phone.

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Britain beats back Argies over Falklands online land grab

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Re: "Not til we have some planes to go on them..."

How do they defend against Exocets, etc. these days?

Faster missiles with longer ranges and better radars. Particularly with computers better able to pick up sea skimmers from the surface clutter. And radar controlled gattling guns for last-ditch defence too nowadays.

Oh and also supposedly computers that can handle multiple targets, with multiple launchers to attack them with. One of the problems in the Falklands was with the computers getting confused, unable to prioritise which of two equally dangerous targets to engage - and going into reset mode and ignoring both. They were engaging at such close range that there wasn't time for the operators to override. I think it was at least Coventry that got it that way?

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I thought that was ICANN policy now. In order to avoid complicated and annoying bunfights, such as this one, they just followed the ISO list and let someone else sort it out.

Although I suppose that doesn't help if people just waste all your time trying to get you to change that policy instead.

It's not exactly an uncommon problem. For example the Palestinian Authority have now got FIFA menmbership, and what's one of their first actions? To try and get FIFA to ban a bunch of Israeli teams.

Although at least they have a serious dispute with Israel. Greece has wasted years of everyone's time childishly pissing around because when Macedonia left Yugoslavia, Greece has a provice called Macedonia - and it would somehow hurt national pride to allow a country to use it. Or they're not the real Macedonians, they're just very not boys... Or somesuch bollocks.

So we now have the ludicrous situation of a country called The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in order to satisfy a bunch of Greek policiticans who would have better spent their time not running their country's economy off a cliff. Although to be fair, they only crashed it into a tree, it was the IMF, EU and Germany who actually pushed the wreck over the edge of the cliff.

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Ditching political Elop makes for a more Nadella Microsoft

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Re: Interesting article Trevor

Trevor,

I hope not. I've just bought one. Probably cursed it for everyone else now...

Thanks for a really good article by the way. I really enjoyed the perspective.

I never bought into the conspiracy theories either, Nokia were buggered way before he was brought in. But I did sort of feel that it was a failure of management that he didn't try to take one of their technologies and railroad it through management til their eyes watered. It seemed a bit lacking in confidence in his own abilities.

Even though I can understand the good reasons for not wanting to be the 3rd (well I guess 5th? at the time) phone ecosystem competing for customers and developers. Was WebOS still going when he took over at Nokia? Or was it just 4, with Blackberry?

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Re: Mobile vision

I've just stepped back into WinPhone. Bought a Lumia 735 at the weekend, and had it all set up in a pretty short time. But my phone demands are quite limited, I care about the address book and phone most, and knew what I was getting into. Tablets are for fun, apps and techy tinkering - the phone is a basic work tool - that also handles my personal comms. If I need more, I can just tether the iPad.

But I recommended one to my Mum over a month ago. She struggles with tech, and is in her 70s. She got the Lumia 630 for £60. I had to show her how to use it, but she's asked me one single, solitary question about how to use it since! Sorry, two, she didn't know how to put it on mute last week. I got more questions than that in the first week of her having an iPad. So it definitely is easy to use. And she's happy with it, even though it was 10% of the price of a new iPhone - which she already knows as an iPad user.

Sod's law is MS will kill it. It's certainly never had all the love it needs to make it a mainstream success.

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Layoff-happy Capita charges staff to use cutlery in canteens

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Unhappy

Re: "value-added solutions?"

Well, a spoon really does add value to scalding hot bowl of soup.

Although I'd personally prefer to introduce that PR person to some e-re-training, via a multi-disciplinary agricultural/business crossover methodology - utilising a bovine stimulation prod device.

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BOFH: Don't go changing on Friday evenings, I don't wanna work that hard

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Devil

Re: It's all in the plan

Ah, I remember this from a surprise tax inspection.

Standard procedure is firstly to panic.

Second to get a dedicated laser printer and some coffee (some to drink, and some to put convincing stains on the new documents in order to avoid them looking quite so fresh and new. That, a bit of crumpling and a few staples give a nice convincing air of versimilitude to your new creation.

Then station the nice tax inspector on the cushiest office available, on the top floor, with tea and biccies. Hoping that they'll ring down for the documents they want to see, rather than descend and climb 4 flights of stairs, giving you sufficient time to print what's missing.

There was no fraud on my part here. Just that the company's backup strategy for the accounts had been to, erm, not do any backups of that particular server. Ooops. I was one of the people brought in to fix it, and I'd reconstructed it in Excel, just not in the accounts software or the files yet.

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Microsoft's curious Sway comes to iPad and iPhone

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Devil

Oh the silly names. My eyes! My eyes!

So someone Skyped me that they've had a tweet to go on Yammer and look at someone's Sway about this new product, which is going to allow you to present things in a way that Google's Wave might have done if they hadn't axed it, which will save you from putting your stuff on Flickr, Pinterest or Vine.

I thought I could stop learning new languages and doing vocab tests when I left school. Seemingly not. Perhaps I should write a stiff letter to The Times, or maybe telephone Feedback on the BBC Home Service - as the wireless is a much more modern medium on which to air my complaint.

Yours,

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

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